|Jordan and Elder Manalo, chillin' on P-Day|
Well, this week went by a lot faster than I expected it to. We had interviews with President Martino on Wednesday, which was pretty cool. It was my first time having interviews since after my initial interview at my arrival. I have now officially been in the Philippines longer than I was in the MTC, hitting my four month mark on Saturday. How crazy is that?! I also received about 40 Dear Elders on Wednesday as well dated back from Christmas until about the third week of January or second week. So, a lot of things have happened this week. A lot of spiritual, interesting, and funny things. Magsimula tayo.
|Jordan and Elder Declaro with the zone getting a view of the valley|
We've been really progressing with Nanay Rose Marrie. We taught lesson one and the spirit was really powerful when we taught her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. We think that she should be baptized by the end of February. She's a really great lady. She comes to church by herself every week. Which is really rare here in the Philippines. Usually investigators don't come to church unless they are dragged out of their houses. Speaking of great investigators, we have two kids that we are teaching through the Rescue Program (the Sta. Maria Family). They've been inactive for a couple of years. When we met them, they told us that they wanted their kids to be baptized and have us teach them. What missionary can deny that?! Jarom and Jonas are great. Jarom is 12 almost 13, and he has the greatest faith and spirit that I've ever seen anyone at that age. Even more than some of the kids that are already baptized and have the Holy Ghost. I know I definitely wasn't like that when I was his age. He and Jonas have the greatest desire to follow Jesus Christ that I've ever seen. We did have a sad moment before we taught them this week. Before we were about to start the lesson, one of their friends came to pick up their uncle, Elmer Sta. Maria, and take him to the Inglesia ni Cristo service that night. So it was a pretty awkward 20 minutes talking to him. That was probably the longest conversation that I've ever had with a member of Inglesia. All of the other members refuse to talk to us, because it's bawal (taboo) in their church to talk to us. Where's the free agency in that?! Oh well. All we could do was talk to him and be polite while Brother Elmer was getting dressed to go with him. When they left, they were only gone for about three seconds when Jarom shouted, "Go! Go! Walang Inglesia!" As funny as that was, we were worried that they probably heard him. We don't think he did. It was pretty sad to see an endowed member of the Church leave to go to another church and have a baptismal date with them next month. Here's where the miracle comes. We went early on Sunday morning to pick up the kids to take them to the District Conference in Bongabon when we saw Brother and Sister Sta. Maria dressed up saying that they were going with them. We were so happy that they were coming! Brother Sta. Maria definitely seemed different. Especially since he was wearing a white shirt and tie to go to church instead of his plaid shirt that he wore to Inglesia. I could tell that our prayers about him were definitely answered. Hopefully, they can continue to come to church and return, because that's what the Rescue Program is all about.
|Elder Royal - enjoying the hike with the zone|
So we had a funny experience happen on Friday morning while we were doing weekly planning. We looked out the window and there were about 10 Jehovah's Witness missionaries going door to door. They even came to our door, but luckily Nanay Estinoco was there washing our clothes, so she talked to them. We really wanted to go and talk to them, because that would've been really interesting. Perhaps we could have exchanged pamphlets (we did get one they gave to Nanay Estinoco to read). Funny stuff there. Okay, so the Philippines have these really weird goats that sound just like humans. I don't know if they're like that anywhere else. Goats laugh and even scream like really people. Well, it's not really laughing, but it sounds like it. It's so funny. I've almost busted out laughing during lessons, because I can hear goats outside screaming. It sounds like they're in pain, but they're really not. They just stand there and scream. So the other day, we were eating lunch, and I turned around just in time to see a big dog get run over by a jeepny. I just saw it rolling and then the back tire went over it. It was yelping and hobbling to the other side of street until it fell into the gutter. The gutters here are like two feet deep at least. Once it fell into the gutter, it didn't make a sound. It was sad. After a moment of silence, I continued eating. We went to see if the dog was still there about an hour later, but I guess the owner got it out. Okay, isa pang (another) story about animals. So we were on our way to Palayan this morning to play basketball when the jeepney stopped suddenly in the street. We looked out the window and saw about a thousand ducks crossing street guided about three guys with sticks, or duck shepherds. That was pretty funny. I played basketball for the first time since I left the MTC. After about two games, I was completely covered in sweat. We were lucky to be playing in a dome area, because it would've been a lot worse in the sun. It was still really fun, though. We played as a zone.
|Elder Royal with more members of his zone|
Mom, I see that you already sent my package. I was about to ask you if you could send some cold and flu medicine, because I have wala (none). It would be nice to have now, since I started getting a cold yesterday. Oh well, I'll just have to buy something here. Hopefully, it works as well.
We had District Conference this week. We were able to hear from President Martino and a member of the Area Seventy. It was a great conference. It was mostly about the Rescue Program and how we should encourage the members to bring back all they can that are less active. I have seen the Rescue Program working miracles this month, and it's only the first month of the year. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the rest of the year. I didn't know that there was a song in the Hymn book all about this: "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" (hymn no. 221). It's all about shepherd bringing back the lost sheep. Pretty good song.
Well I think that's about it for me. I hope that you all have a good week and that the Lord answers your prayers, because they're definitely answered here. I would strongly encourage you all to pray for experiences to serve as an instrument to lead others back to the Savior. They may be lost, but are never forgotten.
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Jordan "Hit and Run Witness" Royal
P.S. Special thanks to Sister Lilian Adonis for providing pictures to the family via Facebook!